Over 500,000 cars imported to Kurdistan in four years
Statistical Reports: 780 people died in traffic accidents in the past 10 months
The demand for cars in Kurdistan Region has increased considerably over the last decade as the financial situation of the local people improves. Increased demand has been fed by the continuous import of new card. Government statistics reveal that around 500, 000 vehicles have been imported into Kurdistan over the past four years, a figure equal to the number of cars imported in the forty years before that.
Based on statistics released by the General Directorate of Traffic Police in the Region, 528, 307 cars entered the country between 31 December 2009 and 31 October 2013. In other words, nearly 80, 000 cars a year have been imported into the region, mostly to the Kurdish capital of Erbil. There are currently 1,370,063 cars in the Kurdistan Region.
“Importing cars has created traffic problems and traffic accidents have increased as a result,” said Brigadier Gen. Qader Sideeq, Director of the Region’s General Directorate of the Media and Public Information
Sideeq believes accidents will continue to increase if the government does not place limits on the haphazard importation of automobiles into the region.
“Our roads and streets are incapable of holding these many cars. The government also has to have strategic plans and projects for building more roads, bridges, tunnels and pedestrian crossings. Otherwise, moving will be almost impossible in the near future,” noted Sideeq.
In Sideeq’s view, importing vehicles requires scientific and accurate studies and the flow of vehicles into the region should be limited. He also said that old cars should be stopped from running as they have a negative impact on human health and the environment.
According to statistics released by the Directorate, 780 people died and 10, 540 others were injured in car accidents over the last 10 months, with 280 deaths and 3,808 injuries in Erbil Province alone. In all, 200 people died and 2,534 others were injured in Sulaimaniya province, with 211 deaths and 3,485 injuries in Duhok Province.
The statistics also show that 28 people died and 248 others were injured in Soran District, while 40 people were injured in the Garmiyan area, and 16 people died and 149 others were injured in the Rapareen area.
The Kurdistan Regional Government (KRG) has decided to stop importing poor quality cars into the region as of 15 February 2014 . According to media outlets, the decision was designed to allow businessmen with close ties to the ruling parties to establish a monopoly. However, other experts view the decision as being in the public interest. However, shop owners have raised concern over potential plans to raise the price of car number plates, and this news has frustrated the public. Many believe the KRG should regulate the market and ensure that local businesses do not exploit the current economic situation at the expense of the public.
Passersby observe a three-car accident in Erbil.